How to motivate yourself (when you really don’t wanna)

Today’s post is not the post I was planning on writing.

You see, I spent all of Friday (the day I was planning on writing today’s post) procrastinating and putting off sitting down to write.

Yesterday was going pretty much the same.

Fortunately, as I was pulling myself out of procrastination mode, I realized that the trick I remembered (and used) today, might just come in handy for you!

Sometimes You Just Can’t Find The Motivation.

No matter how much you love your business, there are always going to be things you don’t want to do.

Sometimes it’s because you don’t love the task itself. Sometimes, you don’t mind the task, but you just aren’t in the mood. Sometimes it’s a task you normally love… but you just don’t have the energy.

Whatever the case, you know you need to do it, and you know you’ll feel better once it’s done. Yet you just can’t seem to find the motivation to actually do it.

An Object In Motion…

Newton’s genius extends to more than physics; more often than not, the trick to getting {that thing you don’t wanna do} done, is just getting started. Once you start, it’s much easier to keep going.

In fact, I often wonder why I put so much energy into avoiding it in the first place.

That trick can be pretty tricky though. While an object in motion may stay in motion, it can take quite a bit of effort to get that object into motion.

Especially when that ‘object’ is you…

You may have tried forcing yourself into doing it, or shaming yourself. Perhaps you’ve tried to entice yourself with promises of treats or rewards once it’s done.

Yet no matter how you threaten or cajole, you just can’t seem to make yourself get up and get that damn thing done!

Don’t Take ‘No’ For An Answer!

The problem I run into with any of these techniques is that a part of me fully recognizes that it can say ‘no’ to what I’m asking of myself.

Attempting to force myself (“You have to get this done before lunch!”) awakens my inner teen, who excels at rebelling and refusing to do what she ‘has’ to do.

Shaming myself (“If you were a real entrepreneur, this wouldn’t be such a big deal”) just makes me feel bad… which generally leads to hot tea, and copious amounts of fudge.

Cajoling or promising rewards (“Ok, if you just get this done, we can go out and get some ice cream!”) is only effective for the 2 seconds it takes for me to realize that I could just go get ice cream now…

So how do you motivate yourself in a way that bypasses the option to say ‘no’?

The Secret Sauce That Avoids ‘I Don’t Wanna’

I used to ask myself if now is a good time to do the thing. Answer when unmotivated? Nah, maybe later.

I tried asking why don’t I want to do it. This could be helpful… except that I’ve just reinforced that I don’t actually want to do the thing, which means I’m still fighting myself to even get started.

So I found a better question;

How do I want to do this?

‘How’ assumes that you will, in fact, be tackling your ‘to do’ item. You’ve bypassed ‘do I wanna?’ and tricked your brain into assuming that the answer is yes.

You’ve also triggered a very powerful mental process; the mind loves answering questions, and when you present it with something that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no, it goes happily bounding down mental pathways looking for an answer.

Once you start thinking of ways to accomplish your task, you’ve created the first hint of motion necessary to start working on your task.

For instance, writing this post didn’t start with turning on my computer, or loading up my website or word processor. It started when I started thinking about it.

And remember, once you start working on your task, keeping the motion going is much easier… which means you’re well on your way to getting it done!

What task have you been putting off? How could you go about getting it done?